Thursday, December 26, 2013

Identity overlap

Have you ever stopped to think why on earth do you remain so much time in a job? Why are you faithful to a company or brand? Is it the money? Is it the challenge? Stability? Ego?

Several studies indicate that the more you relate with the company the better you perform. Taking on the study by Bergami and Bagozzi (2000) about Self-identity versus Group Identity, take a look at the picture below. How related are you to your company? How many self characteristics map to characteristics from your enterprise?

(click to enlarge)

Just like everything in life, the edges can be dangerous if you're not conscious of where you stand and you don't know how to take advantage of that "position". For instance, if you're at "Level 0", you certainly should have changed job a long time! The other edge is a cautionary one. You might LOVE the company, the job, everything is perfect. But what if tomorrow something goes wrong? Will it be like a fallen marriage? What if someone offers you an obscene amount of money? Will it be passion over money?

Nevertheless, I like the "Level 7" edge.
Feel it! Believe in it! Love it! Give everything. Get Involved!
If one day you no longer feel the job, change what's wrong! Change the job, change yourself or change job! It's like running or a soccer match: You may only stand for 30 minutes, but give it all in those 30 minutes. If you can only breathe for 20, cool: die on those 20, but give it all you got!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The dangers of not being SMART

"Reaching a goal you don't have is as hard as returning to a place you've never been" (Zig Ziglar). Setting objectives is fundamental in order to excel yourself. If you never set a goal, you'll never be able to go beyond that line! Also, objectives are motivational. They:

    Set focus to relevant actions to perform a task;
    Conduct to higher effort levels;
    Stimulate the development of long-term plans to reach that goal;
    Define time frames;
    Brutally increase failure resistance;
    Tend to reduce procrastination;
    Allow more accurate feedback;

Having said that, setting goals should follow the typical "SMART" Criteria:

 – Specific: What exactly are we going to do for whom? Target a specific area for improvement. This should be as clear as possible, not vague;
 – Measurable: Is it quantifiable and can WE measure it? Concrete criteria for measuring progress towards the attainment of the goal;
 – Attainable: Can it be done? Choosing goals that are achievable and realistic;
 – Relevant: Will this objective have the desired effect ?
 – Time-bound: When will this goal be accomplished? Grounding goals within a time frame.

One of the most common mistakes I see nowadays in the Software Development industry falls into the "A" fail: Realistic! I know that due to time and budget constraints we have to be specially thorough when it comes to investments, but setting a goal for a project or an individual that will only be achievable if and only everything goes perfect is a truly horrific bad practice. In Software Development, nothing is ever perfect and the estimates should always be based upon a three-point estimation: Worst case, expected and best case scenario.

However, the setting of unrealistic goals isn't just bad by the direct outcome: it will impact on everything a team does! Another real danger is that the team spirit will be doomed! How can you give feedback to someone if by setting unrealistic goals the team member will always be failing "deadlines"? How can you demand high quality from a team member that lacks motivation, time, resources...?

So, do the right projects and do them right!

Be ambitious. Be Wise along the way...